Anthony Pym


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Attempt at a chronology of Hispanic translation history


1400, 5 September. Leonardo Bruni uses traducere and traductio, perhaps for the first time, in a private letter (Folena 1991: 71).

c.1400 Pero López de Ayala translates Titus Livius' Decades 1, 2 and 4 for Enrique III, working from a French version by Pierre Bersuire (Wittlin 1977: 297).

1402 Jean de Béthencourt, from France, claims the Canary Islands and recognizes the sovereignty of Enrique III of Castile.

1408 Enrique de Villena is in Barcelona and is somehow associated with the 'Consistorio de la Gaya Ciencia'.

1410-11 Translation into Judeo-Portuguese of the Libro conplido, in an Aljamiad text written in Hebrew characters.

1410 Martí I closes the Jewish quarter (call) of Barcelona and takes all the land, buildings and goods for himself (Miró Montoliu 1996: 19).

1412 Catherine of Navarra proclaims that all Jews are to live in separate quarters.

1412-14 Public disputation of Tortosa, held before Pope Benoit XIII and in the presence of about 1000 Christians opposing the rabbis of the Crown of Aragon. The disputation took 22 months to decide whether or not the Messiah had already come, famously resulting in fourteen rabbis converting to Christianity (Marco 1977). .

1412-18 The marqués de Santillana is at the Barcelona court.

1415 The manuscript of Ptolemy's Geography is discovered in Florence. Brought there by Paolo Strozzi, a Florentine merchant, it was translated into Latin by Jacopo d'Angelo.

1417 Pope Martin V admits the sovereignty of States by renouncing the Pope's political power over the Councils.

1417 Enrique de Villena translates Doze trabajos de Hércules from his own Catalan, "usando del comun fablar ... a fin a muchos pudiese aprovechar e comunicarse"

1417-18 Leonardo Bruni's Latin version of Aristotle's Ethics, with a preface that ridicules the previous translator.

1419 Pedro de Toledo completes his translation of Maimonides' More, el Moysen de Egipto from Arabic into Castilian ("romançe") for don Gómez Súarez de Figueroa. "oue a fazer de un vocablo dos e de dos vocablos uno, e añader en algunt loger, e menguar en otro, e en uno declarar, e en otro acortar, e en otro poner la razon vocablo por vocablo tal qual esta..."

1420 c. ser Domenico da Prato writes a pamphlet in Italian in which the new 'humanist' translations are criticized.

1421 Cicero's De oratore and the Brutus are discovered in northern Italy.

1424 Greek is first taught at the University of Bologna.

1424c. Alfonso de Cartagena translates the first book of Cicero's De inventione, dedicated to Duarte I of Portugal. Also in the 1420s, when on a diplomatic mission in Portugal, he completes his translation of Boccaccio's De casibus principum, using the method of dictation (Russell 1985: 37-38).

1424-26. Leonardo Bruni writes De Interpretatione Recta, seeing "traducere" as act in which the translator has to make every effort to reproduce the eloquence of the original.

1427-28 Enrique de Villena gives a Latinizing translation of the Aeneid for Juan de Navarra. Translation completed in one year twelve days.

1429 Andreu Febrer (1398-1444) translates the Divina Commedia into Catalan. In the same period he renders the Decameron into Catalan.

1430c. Alonso de Cartagena translates La Rethorica de M. Tullio Ciceron. "como cada lengua tiene su manera de fablar ... en las doctrinas que non tienen el valor por la autoriat de quien las dixo non han seso moral nin míxtico, non me paresce dapñoso retornar la intençión de la escriptura en el modo del fablar que la la lengua en que se pasa conviene".

1430c. Alonso de Cartagena writes a response to Bruni's pugnacious introduction to the Latin version of Aristotle's Ethics. The letter will be received by Bruni in 1436.

1430 Robert Payn translates Gower's narrative poem Confessio Amantis (1390-1392) into Portuguese; it will soon be translated into Castilian by Juan de Cuenca (for more information: Maria do Carmo Oliveira <>).

1431 Pope Eugene IV introduces humanist studies at the University of Rome.

1433 Luis de Guzmán, grand master of the Order of Calatrava, commissions a new translation of the Bible from rabbi Mose Arragel. The result is known as the Biblia de Alba.

1434 Johannes Gensfleisch (Gutenberg) invents the mobile-type printing press in Nurenberg.

1436 Bruni replies to Cartagena's letter.

1437 Bruni sends a second reply to Cartagena.

1438 The Inca Pachacutec imposes his power on regional leaders and has them recognize his divine origins.

1438c. Juan de Mena writes La yliada de homero en romãce, a 48-page summary drawn from Ausonio's Periochae and the Epitome by the Theban pseudo-Pindar. Dedicated to Juan II. "esta obra recebira dos agrauios: el vno n la traduccion latina / y el mas dañoso & mayor en la interpretacion del romance que tiento y prosumo de le dar". For this reason only writes a summary.

1438c. Don Pedro of Portugal translates Cicero's De officiis, dedicated to his brother king Don Duarte.

1439 Paulo Orosio translates Aristotle's Ethics from Aragonese into Castilian. The text also exists in Catalan.

1439. June 22. Nuño de Guzmán is in Florence having numerous books copied out in Italian to send back to Spain. He would return to Castile in 1446.

1440 Lorenzo Valla questions the sovereignty of the Church over the Naples, Sicily, Sardegna and Corsica.

1440c. Alonso de Madrigal translates Libro de las Cronicas o tienpos de Eusebio Casariense from Latin into Castilian. Dedicated to the marqués de Santillana. "es dificile si se faze por manera de interpretacion que es palabra por palabra et non por manera de glosa la qual es absuelta et libra de muchas grauedades".

1441. 20 September. Antón Zorita completes his Castilian translation of Honoré Bouvet's Arbre des batailles for the Marqués de Santillana.

1442c. Pedro González de Mendoza, son of the marqués de Santillana, translates the Iliad (La Iliada de Homero) into Castilian at the request of his father, working from Pier Candido Decembrio's Latin version.

1442c. Juan de Mena translates "Homer" (the Ilias Latina) without knowing Greek.

1443 Alfonso V of Aragon gains Naples, perhaps the largest city in the world.

1443 Pedro de Chinchilla translates Guido delle Colonne's Historia destructionis Troiae from Latin into Castilian for the conde de Benavente.

1444 A group of African slaves arrives in Portugal.

1445 Alfonso de Baena, a converso, compiles his Cancionero, which includes early texts in Gallego-Portuguese.

1445c. Juan de Lucena gives free translation of Bartolomeo Fazio's De vitae felicitate.

1446c. Iñigo López de Mendoza, marqués de Santillana, explains that he has had Virgil, Ovid and Seneca translated into Castilina because he does not understand Latin: "é pues non podemos aver aquello que queremos, queramos aquello que podemos".

1449 Jews and Christians in Sevilla organize a joint procession to conjure away the plague.

1450c. The Mallorquin Ferrán Valentí translates Cicero's Paradoxa into Catalan.

1450c. Alfonso de Madrigal (el Tostado) completes Comento de Eusebio, a commentated translation of Jerome's Cronici canones. The translation is dedicated to Santillana.

1450-55 The University of Bologna is reorganized for the teaching of studia humanitatis.

1453 Turks take Constantinople. Genoa loses its commercial colonies.

1453 Overthrow and death of Alvaro de Luna.

1455 Carlos, prince of Viana, translates La Philosophia moral del Aristotel working from Leodardo Bruni's versions of the Ethics.

1455 Pero Díaz de Toledo translates Libro llamado Fedrón from Leonardo Bruni's Latin version.

1455 Gutenberg prints the Bible.

1455 The pope grants Portugal the monopoly over navigation along the Atlantic coast of Africa.

1455 'Isa de Jabir, alfaqui from Segovia, is invited by Juan de Segovia to Ayton in the Savoy, where he translates the Qur'an into Castilian. Juan de Segovia translates the Castilian version into Latin.

1458 Death of Alfonso V. Naples passes to his son Ferrand.

1458 Death of don Iñigo López de Mendoza, marqués de Santillana.

1449 Alfonso Borgia moves from Valencia to Rome.

1455 Rodrigo Borgia becomes Pope Callixte III.

1455 Pero Diaz de Toledo translates Plato's Phaedo into Castilian, working from Leonardo Bruni's Latin version.

1457 Lorenzo Valla argues against Thomas Aquinas's metaphysics, "which impedes knowledge of the best things".

1458c. Alfonso de Madrigal writes Comento de Eusebio, distinguishing between "interpretación" (translation proper) and "exposicion, o comento o glosa". The former implies presence of the original's "antigua autoridad".

1460 The Spaniard Diego Gomes brings gold from Gambia.

1462 Gibraltar taken by Christians.

1462 Head of the Come de Medicis decides to finance a Latin translation of all the works of Plato by Marcelo Ficino.

1462 Printing is carried out at the Sorbonne.

1465 King Joan II of Aragon tries to get rid of non-baptized Jews by sending them to Majorca (Miró Montoliu 1996: 19).

1466 A chair of Greek is established at the University of Paris.

1467 Compendium of Aristotle's Ethics is translated into Castilian, ostensibly in six weeks. The translator attributes it to Nuño de Guzmán. The translator was a Latinist who worked from a Latin text, another in Italian, and another in Catalan or Aragonese. (Russell 1985: 37)

1467 Ugo de Urries, Juan II of Aragon's ambassador to the courts of Bourgogne and England, translates Valerius Maximus from the French of Simon de Hesdin and Nicolas de Gonesse. (Russell 1985: 37)

1469 Marriage of Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon.

1470 Beginnings of the printing press in Spain.

1471 The Inca Tupac Yupanqui conquers the neighbouring Chimu kingdom.

1472 Pope Sixtus IV validates the marriage of Isabel and Fernando.

1473 The Aztec emperor Axayaxcatl annexes Tlatelolco.

1473 Antonio de Nebrija returns to Spain after studies in Italy. Renews Latin studies in Spain.

1474 Isabel takes the throne of Castile.

1474-79 Civil war in castile provoked by the nobility, supporting the disgraced Juana.

1478 Pope Sixtus IV orders Isabel and Fernando to set up inquisitors to denounce false conversos. 700 Jews are burned alive.

1478 The first book of commercial arithmetic is printed at Trevisa.

1479 Union of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

1480-81 Beginnings of the Inquisition.

1481 Fernando moves to protect non-converted Jews, who are his "vassals".

1483 Fernando and Isabel order 4,000 Jewish families to convert or to leave.

1484 Lucio Marineo Sículo moves from Sicily to Salamanca, where he works with Nebrija.

1485 In Guadalupe, 52 conversos are burnt alive and 46 corpses are exhumed and burnt.

1486 Fernando orders the expulsion of Jews from Zaragoza and Albarracín, but the order is not applied.

1486 The Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl conquers most of Yucatan.

1487 A royal decree authorizes the importation of foreign labour.

1487 Pietro Martire d'Anghiera, from Rome, enters the service of the Castilian monarchs.

1487 Diego Guillén of Avila translates the Libros teosóficos attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.

1488 Bartolemeo Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope.

1490 Tirant lo Blanch is published in Valencia.

1490c. Publication in Venice of Herodoti Halicarnasei libri novem, Lorenzo Valla's translation of Herodotus.

1490c. Gonzalo de Santa María translates the Lives of the Fathers, attributed to Jerome, into Castilian, "because language normally follows empire, to a greater extent than anything else".

1492 Isabel and Fernando take Granada.

1492 Nebrija writes his Gramática of Castilian.

1492 Expulsion of Jews. About 165,000 emigrate, 50,000 convert to Christianity, and 20,000 die.

1495 Publication in Saragossa of Dichos y hechos de romanos y griegos, Hugo de Urriés's translation of Valerius Máximus Dicta fatique from Simon de Hedin's Latin version previously translated from French.

On to the sixteenth century

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